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Police search Conway high school for drugs

Conway police officers and their drug-sniffing dogs arrived at Conway High School East Thursday to look for drugs. They ended up doing a training exercise as well.
CONWAY, AR - Conway police officers and their drug-sniffing dogs arrived at Conway High School East Thursday to look for drugs, but we'll get back to that in a minute.

Police also conducted a training exercise as part of their visit to the high school. K-9 Ofc. Dax, who actually does wear a badge around his collar, spent time sniffing for drugs the officers planted. He ended up finding a sizeable bag of marijuana in an otherwise empty locker, right where his handlers put it.

"We put some of our drugs that we use for training purposes in the locker," said Ofc. Clay Smith as he opened the locker, "and this is a bag of marijuana."

It is actual marijuana. A Conway police officer recovered it during an investigation. The courts then sign it out to police officers to use in training operations like this one.

Now back to the main reason police, and Dax, went to Conway High School East. They searched lockers and cars on campus at random and found no drugs whatsoever. That's good news. Their appearance here is largely meant to be a deterrent.

But what do parents think of these random searches? Every parent we talked to sounded just like Chris Jennings, whose daughter is a high school student in Conway.

"I think that any time they can do something to prevent you know a possible problem," she said, "I'm all for it."

Finally, here's one more interesting footnote. Frequently throughout Dax's day, especially during the training exercise, his handlers gave him a tennis ball to play with. Why is a drug sniffing dog, in the middle of a search, playing with a tennis ball?

"The dog doesn't know he's looking for drugs. He thinks he's looking for his favorite toy which in his case is a tennis ball. So when he locates that by smell he starts scratching to dig his ball out and the ball gets thrown to him for his reward," explained Smith. "He thinks that smell is his favorite toy. He has no idea he's locating illegal drugs. He just wants to play."

Conway police officers conduct these searches at different schools all over Faulkner County about once a month. They only do it when school administrators ask them to.
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